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Origin of Fourth of July

An Americanism dating back to 1770–80
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

MORE ABOUT FOURTH OF JULY

What is the Fourth of July?

Fourth of July is a popular name for Independence Day, a U.S. holiday in commemoration of July 4, 1776, the day on which the original 13 colonies of the United States declared independence from British rule with the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.

It’s also called July Fourth or simply the Fourth. It’s a patriotic holiday that’s often celebrated with parades, family gatherings, fireworks, and displays of red, white, and blue decorations, especially the American flag.

When is the Fourth of July?

It’s not that silly of a question. Independence Day is always on July 4. However, it is a U.S. federal holiday, meaning that when July 4 falls on a Saturday, it is observed on the Friday immediately before, and when July 4 falls on a Sunday, it is observed on the Monday immediately after.

In 2022, Independence Day will be observed on Monday, July 4.

More information and context on the Fourth of July

On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress voted to declare independence from Britain. Two days later, the Declaration of Independence was officially adopted, and this date, July 4, is the one that’s celebrated as Independence Day.

The fighting in what became known as the American Revolution had started earlier, in 1775, and lasted until 1781, with the war officially ending in 1783 with the Treaty of Paris.

The Fourth of July has been celebrated since the first anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, in 1777, and the Independence Day tradition of fireworks is believed to date back to this first celebration. However, Independence Day didn’t become a federal holiday until 1870.

Because Independence Day is a federal holiday, many people do not work that day. Along with firework displays, popular ways to celebrate include parades, concerts, sporting events, and cookouts.

However, some Americans object to celebrating the holiday, especially due to the fact that the Declaration of Independence did not result in freedom and equality for African Americans, Native Americans, and other people of color. Relatedly, Juneteenth (the holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the U.S.) is sometimes referred to as Black Independence Day, especially by Black Americans.

What are some terms that often get used in discussing the Fourth of July?

How is the Fourth of July discussed in real life?

In the U.S., Independence Day is popularly called the Fourth of July, and sometimes simply the Fourth. It’s a patriotic holiday that’s often celebrated in patriotic ways, such as parades. However, it’s not celebrated by all Americans, especially those who believe that the U.S. has a history of injustice that’s contradictory to the holiday’s focus on freedom.

Try using Fourth of July!

True or False?

The Fourth of July commemorates the end of the American Revolution.

How to use Fourth of July in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for Fourth of July

Fourth of July

noun
the Fourth of July a holiday in the United States, traditionally celebrated with fireworks: the day of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776Official name: Independence Day
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Cultural definitions for Fourth of July

Fourth of July

The day on which the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress in 1776; Independence Day.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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